Chiba Days #1 - PC Depot

Hello everyone and welcome to a new segment on Tiro Finale called Chiba Days! Last year, I got to spend two months in Tokyo as part of my further studies. During that time, I chronicled my daily adventures with a little series I called, Tokyo Days. This year, similar opportunities presented itself and I would be spending three months till the end of the year in Japan as well. Only this time, I find myself in the lesser known neighbor of Tokyo that is, Chiba.  

Unlike Tokyo Days, Chiba Days will not be a daily recount of my adventures here in Japan. Rather, the highlights of my three months here. This way, we can still provide room for our weekly running series as well as usual figure news, highlights and reviews. 

To be perfectly honest, I had no clue what to write about for the first installment of Chiba Days and had been racking my head over the past day to come up with content. But as luck would have it, adventure found its way into my hands in the form of a forgotten travel adapter. Without one, I would be unable to charge and power any of my electrical devices as they utilized a different power plug. 

I was doomed to be without my devices unless I could find a plug point adapter stat. After a short search on Google Maps yielding the closest electronics store to me, I was taking the 400 meter walk to, PC Depot, the largest computer store I have ever seen in Japan bar none. 

Calling it the largest computer I have ever seen in Japan may sound like a bit of a stretch especially with the multi-storied Yodobashi Camera and BIC Camera electronic chains all around Tokyo. But, PC Depot is a store which specializes in entirely one thing which also happens to be their namesake, personal computers.

Unlike electronic stores which carry a great deal of items some of which are not even electronic devices such as toys and furniture, PC Depot stays true to its namesake by only selling and providing services in relation to computers. That fact is immediately apparent upon entering this warehouse-like PC store. 

Customers who enter the store are immediately greeted by the sight of notebooks of all variants be it a Windows or Macintosh model. This comes as no surprise as a large majority of personal computers in Japan are of these variety. To the immediate left of the entrance, is a repair area where technicians offer repair and troubleshooting services. Meanwhile, the immediate right hosted the consultation area where customers could converse with one of the many store attendants on their purchases.

And it was not just the usual consumer goods on sale either, a whole host of accessories and peripherals were on sale too. These included gaming gear, something that is rather uncommon sight in the largely console-centric society of gamers. Elecom, a Japanese electronics company, was offering some gaming gear of their own too!

3,000 Yen for a membrane keyboard sounds like a rather steep price but, such is the price you pay for peripherals in Japan. Note how this keyboard is more "gamer-focused" via the omission of Japanaese kana symbols on the keyboard. 

Aside from the keyboard, Elecom also offered their own gaming mouse, mouse pads and headsets. All of them were rather standard affeir except to their gaming mouse which is perhaps one of the most unique designs I have seen in quite a while. Aside from having a whole host of additional buttons, the mouse also features a side-scrolling wheel! These features are presumably to leverage commands in MMO games which make up the majority of PC games in Japan. 

Standard membrane keyboards for office work were on sale too but, their prices really did not vary too much from that of the Elecom gaming keyboard. This may come as a surprise to many but, the popular peripherals manufacturer, Logitech, is actually known as Logicool in Japan. I have always contemplated getting some Logicool gear of my own to complement my Logitech setup with some foreign flare but, alas, the marked up prices always dissuade me. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find a great number of game pads on sale too. A large majority of them were manufactured by Elecom and featured multi-device connectivity while being sold at a very fair price. This is one item I consider to be a great souvenir for a gamer-friend. Functional yet, unique. 

The surprised continued to roll in, in the form of several enthusiasts cases. The selection was not the largest or greatest but, it surely covered the bases (from budget to high end) with a good number of dependable, iconic cases. The prices? Not so great. 

Instead of having the graphics card's box out on full display, PC Depot instead opted to included little information stands of each one with photos of the product together with tech specs. Those in the know may have spotted that PC Depot is carrying some rather out-of-date model of graphics card such as the older Nvidia 7xx and 9xx series of GPU. While this clearly shows a slow market for graphics cards, I did find the large availability of older models rather refreshing especially for those sourcing older more affordable parts. AMD? Those were nowhere to be seen, unfortunately. 

Then, we come to the gaming peripherals. This section was dominated by two brands, Logtitech, I mean Logicool and Razer with a tiny section for Corsair in the bottom rows. Despite not having a significant customer base, the keyboards are still in Japanese configuration. When you take that into consideration, it is not hard to see understand why only the larger brands are able to penetrate the gaming peripherals market in Japan. Personally, I would like to see what Elecom is able to produce in the future now that it is the gaming peripherals market. 

For those who would like to get into the PC gaming field but know nothing of building a system, PC Depot also offers the options pre-built systems. While I may not find the balance of parts enticing nor, the price for that matter, it is a very good entry option for those who are novices to the field. On a side note,I love how much of the tech nomenclature is retained and written in English too. 
Aside from all the shiny, fancy gear, there are also the builder essentials such as screws, cables and port adapters. They certainly did not come cheap but, the fact that they could be obtained is merit enough.

Need software or books to learn more about IT? PC depot has you covered too! Keep in mind, these are the Japanese version of the software.

But, I digress from the main reason I had visited PC Depot in the first place. All the time I was there starring at the wide variety of PC peripherals on sale, I had forgotten my main reason for going in the first place. To look for a plug point adapter. Unfortunately, PC Depot did not carry the kind which converted the Japanese plug point into a foreign one, only the opposite. For such a large store, I was certainly disappointed to see such a simple item not be available. 

Dejected, I left PC Depot and tried my luck by heading towards the Matsudo station to try my luck at a local supermarket. Lo and behold, the supermarket actually did have the adapter that I was looking for and it was the last one too! A sense of relief rushed over me as I begrudgingly parted ways with 950 Yen as a result of my own mistakes.

Once I got back though, another surprise awaited me while I was working my way through my luggage. There it was, all the while, I had brought a travel adapter with me in my luggage but had conveniently forgotten about it as I had packed much in advance. It goes to show, things always appear where you least expect them to, in your own luggage. 

With that, we come to the end of this adventure and the first entry into the Chiba Days series. Until the next time, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a lovely day ahead!


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